Open House at GE-Hitachi Toronto Plant

November 14, 2013

By Malcolm Bernard
Director of Communications
Canadian Nuclear Association

The regulatory hearing next month into Toronto’s “nuclear secret” should provide an interesting contrast between scientific truth and activist myth.

The federal nuclear regulator will hold a public meeting December 10th to hear about GE-Hitachi’s fuel-processing plant. The plant, located at 1025 Landsdowne Avenue (near Dufferin and St. Clair), turns uranium oxide, a powder, into compressed fuel pellets that power CANDU reactors.

GE-Hitachi has operated the plant under a federal license for decades, but now anti-nuclear activists are pretending that they have discovered the plant and campaigning against its continued operation.

The folks from GE-Hitachi are holding an “open house” next Tuesday, November 19. If you’ve been wondering about the plant, or alarmed by the activist buzz, here’s your chance to get answers directly from the people who run the place. The open house runs from 7:00 to 9:00pm at the Wallace Emerson Community Centre located at 1260 Dufferin Street in Toronto.  GE-Hitachi staff will be on hand to answer questions and share facts.

Background: GE-Hitachi’s Safety Record

GE-Hitachi have been safely producing ceramic uranium fuel pellets at the Lansdowne plant for close to sixty years, always adhering to health and environmental standards. Company monitoring consistently shows emissions to be well below regulatory limits – even well below “action levels,” which are a sort of early-warning level.

Soil Sample Testing

Independent tests conducted in June 2013 by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment showed no reason for concern.

As the Ontario Ministry of Environment concluded:

“Uranium concentrations in boulevard, park and municipal right-of-way soils sampled by the Ministry in the vicinity of GE-Hitachi were all within the range of typical Ontario background concentrations and no samples collected were elevated relative to either the Ministry’s Table 1 background based soil standards or the MOE Table 3 generic based soil standards. Overall there was no pattern of either increasing or decreasing soil uranium concentrations with distance from GE-Hitachi. All soil uranium concentrations in this survey were relatively low and there is little evidence that uranium emissions from GE Hitachi have had a measurable impact on soil uranium concentrations in the surrounding residential neighbourhoods.”

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s report said:

There is no health risk to the community. Results show that uranium releases from the GEH-C facility are not impacting human health or the environment—all results are below the accepted standards and guidelines and often below the natural background levels of uranium in Ontario soils. These results are also consistent with GEH-C’s annual reports and the analysis conducted by the MOE.”

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